Should you be concerned about your furnace during the winter? If you live in a region where it snows, the answer is yes! Snow can have two major effects on your heater.

  • Excessive cycling of the system
  • Lack of ventilation

If your heater cycles too much, your utility bill is going to reflect that. It’ll also result in the heater components wearing down quicker.

How Different Types of Furnaces Use Ventilation

The second concern mentioned above is a lack of ventilation. Why does this matter? To understand, you need to first know how furnaces work.

How Snow Can Impact Traditional Gas Furnaces

In the case of gas furnaces, a pilot light ignites burners that warm up the indoor air through a combustible heat exchanger. While the warm air travels through your home, the byproducts and gases that are also produced need to be expelled through a vent. This is either done with a flue on the roof, or with assistance from a fan.

Do you see the problem? When it snows, those vents are at risk of being plugged or blocked. Not only does this create extra wear and tear on the furnace, it also creates a hazard. Gases like nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide and carbon monoxide cannot escape your home if the vents are blocked.

So, next time it snows, make sure you clear the area around your home’s side vent. We recommend creating a three foot perimeter. Make sure you also check the flue and clear that of snow also.

How Snow Can Impact High-Efficiency Furnaces

If you have a high-efficiency furnace, your system requires air intake as well. Unlike a gas furnace that uses air from wherever its installed, a high-efficiency furnace needs to take in fresh air. It accomplishes this through an intake port that brings in fresh air.

While professionals know that this pipe should be installed above the snowline, mistakes do happen. If this is blocked due to snow, your furnace will malfunction due to not getting enough air.

How Snow Can Impact Your Heat Pumps

If your home uses a heat pump, it heats and cools your home differently. Heat pumps use condensers that are located outside to warm or cool the air. Most condensers do have a defrost most, but if you get a large accumulation of snow, it could limit how effect it is.

Know the Effects that Snow Can Have on Your Furnace

All around, snow and melting snow can cause damage to your HVAC system. Contact with water can corrode and rust its components. And if water backs up into the system and refreezes, there may be further damage. It’s best to remove any HVAC unit of large snow accumulation before it melts. And always make sure that the intake and exhaust ports are clear of snow.

If you are having problems with your HVAC due to snow or discover damage to your heating and cooling system caused by snow, be sure to give us a call at (610) 363-3940 to schedule a free no-obligation consultation.

We’ll send out one of our certified HVAC technicians to pinpoint the problem and do a quality repair. Year round, you can count on AQM Inc. to keep you and your family cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

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